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Cover Art
Author Park, James William.

Title Latin American underdevelopment : a history of perspectives in the United States, 1870-1965 / James William Park.

Published Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [1995]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  980 PARK    AVAILABLE
Physical description xii, 274 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages [239]-266) and index.
Summary With this penetrating study, James William Park provides the first comprehensive account of nearly a century of U.S. thinking on the reasons for Latin America's apparent "backwardness", from 1870, when we debated annexation of the Dominican Republic, through the 1960s, with the implementation of John F. Kennedy's doomed Alliance for Progress. In the course of analyzing U.S. perceptions of the region, Park explores our diplomatic, military, and economic ties to its nations, as well as the U.S. rise to global prominence and the larger intellectual currents that shaped our attitudes. Our idea of Latin American underdevelopment, Park finds, sprang directly from the colonial notion that the people to our south were racially inferior and handicapped by an authoritarian, medieval legacy and a tropical setting inimical to "progress". Drawing on documents left by travelers, businessmen, scholars, and others, many of whom had never ventured south of the Rio Grande, Park illuminates what he calls a consistent and enduring pattern of disdain. Venturing into the 1920s and 1930s, Park shows us how this pattern began to moderate as scholars contributed to the literature and the United States suffered the crisis of the Great Depression. After World War II, he demonstrates, the old interpretations gave way to more sophisticated understanding. The climax of his story is Kennedy's 1961 launching of the Alliance for Progress, which arrived on the heels of Fidel Castro's rise to power. The failure of the Alliance, which Park traces closely, threw into doubt the modernization theory on which it was based, and encouraged a new, competing paradigm: dependency theory.
Subject Public opinion -- United States -- History.
Latin America -- Foreign public opinion, American -- History.
Latin America -- Economic conditions -- Public opinion -- History.
Latin America -- Social conditions -- Public opinion -- History.
Latin America -- Politics and government -- Public opinion -- History.
ISBN 0807119695 (alk. paper)